DPS, SPD partner to form crime control team, increase patrols
In response to a recent increase in crime near campus, Syracuse University announced a new partnership between the SU Department of Public Safety and the Syracuse Police Department on Thursday.
Beginning immediately, DPS and SPD officers will patrol the East Neighborhood and Marshall Street area together as part of the newly created University Area Crime-Control Team, said DPS Chief Tony Callisto at a press conference held to discuss the partnership.
“We see this not only as a city problem or as a university problem but as a joint problem and the way to tackle joint problems is to have teams of folks that work together,” Callisto said.
The patrols will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and include one DPS officer and one SPD officer per vehicle. One DPS supervisor and one SPD supervisor will also work together to coordinate UACT. The SPD officers involved in UACT will be on DPS’s payroll and their salary will come from the DPS budget, he said.
To further deter crime, a DPS communications officer will work exclusively on monitoring security cameras during the UACT patrols and DPS will expand its off-campus Orange Watch patrols, Callisto said.
DPS currently has 500 cameras on campus that are monitored in the hopes of deterring crime. As part of UACT, a designated DPS officer will monitor these cameras as well as the cameras located on the fringes of campus for any incidents or suspicious occurrences. The officer will then dispatch UACT units to those locations, Callisto said.
Orange Watch patrols will also increase under the new plan. Currently, the patrols have three officers during the week and five on weekends. The new plan calls for five officers every day of the week, Callisto said.
These new measures will continue through November. DPS will then work with SPD to determine the effect the increased security measures have had on safety both on and off campus, he said.
Callisto said he met with Frank Fowler, SPD chief, yesterday to develop a plan for the new partnership and that both organizations are in the process of finalizing procedures. He said he expects the new measures to be fully put in motion in the next few days.
“We have a great working relationship with the city police department,” he said. “This just raises the level of partnership to a team approach.”
DPS and SPD’s patrol areas already have some overlap and the two organizations often both respond to incidents such as loud parties and underage drinking, Callisto said. But now the two organizations will be patrolling together as well. This will result in a significant increase in the number of officers on and near campus, he said.
Despite the increase in security and patrols, Callisto maintained that the crime increase is not unusual and attributed the high number of incidents to the usual uptick in crime that occurs when students return to campus in the fall.
Callisto said several incidents prompted the creation of the new partnership. He pointed to the stabbing that occurred in the Carrier Dome at Orange Madness last Friday and the increase in crimes on Marshall Street as two occurrences that prompted the increased security measures.
The increase in non-students attending parties in the East Neighborhood was another reason for the increased security measures, Callisto said. Traditionally, non-students commit most of the crime in off-campus neighborhoods, he said, but this year, these individuals have been attending parties hosted by university students. Many of the crimes that have occurred off-campus were crimes of opportunity or happened while travelling between parties, he said.
There will also be policy changes at the Carrier Dome, Callisto said. Starting immediately, all Dome events will require assigned seat tickets, including future Orange Madness events, and Carrier Dome management will handle the sale and distribution of all event tickets, he said.
The new rules will not affect the student sections at various events as, even though those sections use general admission seating, the section as a whole is a reserved section and that will “probably not change,” Callisto said.
The Orange Madness event is one of the few Carrier Dome events that has general admission seating, Callisto said, and making all future events reserved seating gives Carrier Dome staff more control.
“When there’s general admission seating, a ticket is a license to pretty much be in any seat and so it doesn’t have the same level of control in regards to reserved seating,” he said.
In addition, extra security measures, including metal detection, may be used at the Dome, Callisto said.
The use of metal detectors is “not unprecedented” Callisto said, and their use will be determined by the Carrier Dome manager on a case-by-case basis, he said.
In general, Callisto said the new policies and the partnership with SPD are all about making campus and the surrounding areas more secure.
“We’re taking some pretty serious strides here working to make sure the university community and students are safe,” he said. “That’s really the idea behind this.”
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